On the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Chinese scientists have recently discovered the phenological dynamics of wetland vegetation in response to climate change.
The study, led by researchers from Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, was recently published on the journal Global Change Biology.
According to the study, the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which holds 20 percent of China's wetlands, plays a critical role in the regional carbon cycle. Understanding the influence of climate change on marsh vegetation requires an examination of the phenological dynamics.
In this study, the researchers used satellite-derived data and observational climate data to investigate the impact of climate change on the end of the growing season (EOS) of marsh wetland vegetation across the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau from 2001 to 2020.
Over a 20-year period, they discovered that the regionally averaged EOS of marsh vegetation was significantly delayed by 4.1 days every decade.
Researchers found that increasing preseason temperatures were the primary cause of the delay in the EOS of marsh vegetation, while preseason cumulative precipitation had little effect.
They also discovered that the reactions of EOS to climate change differed spatially across the plateau, showing that hydrological conditions play a regulating role in marsh phenology.
"Our findings underscore the need to incorporate hydrological factors into terrestrial ecosystem models, particularly in cold and dry regions, for accurate predictions of marsh vegetation phenological responses to climate change," said the study.
The study also noted that knowledgeable conservation and management strategies are critical in the face of current and future climate challenges.